25 September 2013 16:41 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The proposed closure of specialty chemicals producer Arkema’s dioctyl phthalate (DOP) plant in Chauny, France, has prompted little concern among participants in the European DOP market, sources indicated on Wednesday.
The decision to close the facility by March 2014 with a loss of 71 jobs was announced on 20 September. Arkema cited a decline in market demand for its products and what it identified as “substantial overcapacity” in Europe.
The closure of the Chauny plant would represent the latest stage in a long-term rationalisation of DOP production capacity in Europe.
In recent years, there has been a move away from consumption of low-phthalate plasticizers such as DOP towards more environmentally-friendly compounds such as dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP).
DOP has been included in the EU Candidate List and is likely to be phased out by February 2015 under Reach legislation.
Another producer noted that many customers have already switched to other plasticizers, and said the closure of the Chauny unit would not create a shortage of DOP, as there is sufficient domestic and imported supply to meet existing demand.
A reseller said that there is no future for DOP, and the remaining European producers are likely to switch to other plasticizers in an increasingly competitive market environment.
The Chauny site is part of Arkema’s acrylic monomers business unit, and produces material for the plasticizers and resins markets.
The site has a nameplate capacity of 70,000 tonnes/year of DOP and 90,000 tonnes/year of phthalic anhydride (PA), and also produces diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP) and fumaric acid.
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